Custodian Investment Plc on Friday, mentored 150 youths on entrepreneurship, in its third edition of the Mentors Programme which is designed to connect Nigerian youths with mentors who could teach them practical business lessons.

The one-day conference, which was held in Lagos at the weekend, was attended by about 150 professionals from diverse academic and professional backgrounds, The Publisher Nigeria learnt.

Addressing participants at the conference, Wole Oshin, group managing director and chief executive officer of Custodian Investment Plc said, “We are an investment company that operates in different sectors of the Nigerian economy such as insurance, pensions, trusteeship, and recently property business.”

“Several years ago, we felt the need to fill a yawning gap concerning the Nigerian youth, who represents the future of this country. We realised that the youths are going about with the negative feeling that our generation has failed them and believing that the future does not look bright for them. So, we came up with the idea of a mentorship conference to bolster their confidence,” Oshin said.

He said the overriding idea is to connect the youths physically to people who can mentor them by taking them on a business journey with the hope that someday, they would have positive testimonies to share.

He said participants over the years had been exposed to people like Oby Ezekwesili, senior economic advisor at Africa Economic Development Policy Initiative (AEDPI); Leke Alder, principal consultant, Alder Consulting; Tonye Cole, co-founder and former group executive director of Sahara Group; Tara Fela-Durotoye, chief executive officer of House of Tara and Richard Mofe-Damijo, a Nollywood actor and film producer.

“When I started my business I didn’t have anything. I only had N17,000. I took all the cards in our marriage gifts and I made cartoons from them which I sold in church,” remarking that the consolation was that, “I could put something out and get a market for it,” said Alder who was earlier quoted.

He listed 12 principles that the participants must imbibe if they want to be successful in their businesses. They include the need to have integrity, marry the right partner that would support their visions, be persistent in the pursuit of their dreams, not give up no matter the odds and understand that there would be trials but they should build capacity for the future.

Others are the need to be humble, not hold on to anything in life, a friend is born for adversity and not for good times, help as many people as they could, enjoy their lives, trials will never end, and learn to surrender challenges to God.

In her contributions, Funke Bucknor-Obruthe advised the participants to be their authentic and genuine selves if they want to be successful in their respective businesses as well as they should understand the reason why they went into business in the first place.

She encouraged them to determine their values and what they would like to be known for and should strive to keep their word, which is integrity, adding that if they made mistakes, they should learn from them.

She urged the participants to be authentic to their brands and have a target audience, hold their crafts perfect, be consistent about what they want to be known for, be focused and re-invent themselves to remain relevant, surround themselves with a network of good people and strive to take relationships seriously.

She also advised the participants to write down their visions, saying it might be hard and it might be tough but with determination and commitment they would overcome. “You should learn to delay gratification, put your best foot forward, learn when to tell your stories, strive to be the best versions of yourselves, and also encourage yourselves in the Lord,” she said.

Also contributing, Olubankole Wellington, popularly known as Banky W, enjoined the attendees to remember that the purpose why they were created is always in them, remarking that, “You are special, you are unique, don’t worry to fit into the norm when you are created to stand out.”

He charged them to dream it, do it and not give up because sometimes one’s reality could be far from one’s dream. “You should have faith in yourselves because as long as you are not dead, God has not finished with you,” he said.

He said the participants should first invest in themselves, then look for people to prop up by being stepping stones to somebody else’s success, be committed and disciplined, be humble, and be reliable because humility leads to honour.

Custodian Investment Plc is an investment company with a significant holding in companies and brands including Custodian and Allied Insurance Limited, Custodian Life Assurance Limited, Custodian Trustees, and Crusader Sterling Pensions Limited, all rendering best-in-class services in their respective spheres.

The group recently acquired 51 percent equity of UPDC Plc, a property investment company in Nigeria that buys, develops, sells, leases, and manages commercial and residential accommodation and retail space.

The company also offers accommodation options in the luxury, premium, and classic sectors of the real estate market as well as owns and operates a hotel in Lagos, which provides conferencing and banquet facilities.

The company was incorporated in 1991 and commenced operation in 1995. It acquired Signal Insurance in 2006 and became a publicly quoted company in 2007. It also acquired FEGIC Incorporated and acquired the Crusader Group in 2013 with more than 50 years of financial services experience.

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